Bengals Host Broncos Monday Night On ESPN In Pivotal Playoff Game

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Next Monday night, Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals will play what is one of the most important games of the season for the team when it plays host to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Cincinnati and Denver will face off at Paul brown Stadium Monday night on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. The Broncos (11 – 3) have already clinched the AFC West title. So for Denver, Monday night’s game will be a tune-up for the playoffs. For Cincinnati though, Monday night’s game means much more. Cincinnati currently sits at 9 – 4 – 1 on the season coming into Monday night’s game. And even if the Bengals win, it doesn’t guarantee a playoff spot for the team or even the division title. A handful of scenarios have to play out for Cincinnati to get the AFC North division title. And almost all of them require Cincinnati to win out at least Monday night.

The first way that Cincinnati can snag the AFC North title is to win out both Monday night and against the Steelers in Week 17. The second way that the Bengals can clinch the division title is to win at least one game between this week and next week and losses by both the Steelers and Ravens. In order to clinch a playoff spot, one of two scenarios has to happen. The first scenario is a win at least this week or next week against Pittsburgh. The other scenario would allow Cincinnati to lose both this week and next ONLY IF Kansas City, San Diego and Buffalo all lose at least once between this week and next. Making Monday night’s game all the more important for Cincinnati is the teams prime time record. Cincy is 18 – 41 all time in prime-time and 10 – 20 on Monday Night.  Taking an even deeper look at the teams’ numbers, Denver is only 4 – 3 on the road versus going undefeated at home. The team has gone 4 – 1 – 0 in its last five game. Cincy has only one more win on the road than at home, going 5 – 2 – 0 on the road and 4 – 2 – 1 at home. It is also 4 – 1 – 0 in its last five games. So it goes without saying that Monday night’s game will be one of the most important of the season for Cincinnati.

Adding to the interest of Monday’s games is talk of long term impacts of hits on Peyton this season and what it might mean in regards to his off season surgery. Manning will sit down with ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play man Mike Tirico to discuss that and more as part of the night’s pre-game broadcast.  Sideline reporter Lisa Salters will have a discussion with Bengals QB Andy Dalton on the other side of the ball. She and Dalton will discuss what a win tonight would mean both for him and his teammates and getting over the playoff hurdles of the past three seasons among other topics. Both interviews are part of Monday’s pre-game show Monday Night Countdown. Suzy Kolber will anchor Monday night’s broadcast. She will be joined by NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young live on-site. Chris Berman will anchor live from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut. He will be joined by NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson and ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Monday Night Countdown kicks off at 6pm ET.

Kickoff for Monday night’s game is scheduled for 8:15pm ET. Mike Tirico will have the call from the booth. He will be joined by Jon Gruden, who just last week agreed to a contract extension with ESPN. The extension will keep Gruden in the booth alongside Mike Tirico through 2021, when ESPN’s next contract with the NFL comes up. Lisa Salters will be on the sidelines for Monday night’s game with all of the latest in-game news and reports. Monday Night Football is available for ESPN’s Spanish-speaking fans on ESPN Deportes and online via WatchESPN for those with video subscriptions from affiliated providers. More information on Mondays’ game and on all things NFL is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf
http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF
http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Saints, Bears Face Off Tonight In Important NFC Match To Close Out Week Fifteen

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Week fifteen of the NFL’s 2014-2015 season closes tonight with what will be one of the season’s most important match ups.

Tonight on ESPN, The New Orleans Saints (5 – 8 – 0) take on the Chicago Bears (5 – 8 – 0) in an NFC conference face-off. A win tonight for the Saints would have major playoff implications. That’s because after Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Panthers are now also at 5 – 8 – 1. A Saints win would push New Orleans to 6 – 8 – 0 so far on the season. A win would be especially big for the Saints as right now the NFC South in whole is the league’s worst division. For Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears, a win tonight would tie Chicago with Minnesota in the NFC North at 6 – 8 – 0.  It’s not much, considering that Chicago has essentially been marked out of the playoff picture.  But a win would mean not being the worst team in its division. The Saints are only 1- 4 in their last five games while Chicago has struggled just as much going 2 – 3 in its last five games. However Chicago is in the midst of a two-game skid. So the Bears will be looking to snap that streak. And being at home, Chicago will be especially hungry for a win tonight.

Coverage of tonight’s game on ESPN kicks off at 6pm ET on Monday Night Countdown. Host Suzy Kolber will be joined by NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young. Chris Berman will be live in studio from ESPN’s headquarters for the broadcast. He will be joined by analysts Cris Carter, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson alongside ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Mike Tirico will have the call for tonight’s game. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Jon Gruden. Lisa Salters will have all of the latest reports throughout the game from the sidelines.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15pm ET. ESPN’s Spanish-speaking viewers can catch the game on television via ESPN Deportes. And fans on the go can watch the game online via WatchESPN as long as they have subscriptions from affiliated providers. More information on tonight’s game and all things NFL is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf
http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagles, Panthers Close Out Week 10 Of NFL’s 2014 – 2015 Season

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Week 10 of the 2014 – 2015 NFL season closes out Monday night on ESPN when the Carolina Panthers come in to Philadelphia to face the Eagles.

The conference matchup is an important one for both teams.  Both teams will be looking to add another notch to their “W” column.  Philadelphia is currently 6 – 2 on the season.  Carolina on the other hand, is currently 3 – 5 on the season.  So a win will mean just as much for both teams.  For Carolina, it would mean being one game closer to getting back in the black.  For Philadelphia, it would be another important step towards the team’s playoff hopes for this season.  Philadelphia is 3 – 1 in its last five games and 3 – 2 against conference opponents.  Against non-conference foes, Philly is 3 – 0.  Carolina is 3 – 3 so far in conference play and have gone 0 – 3 – 1 in its last five games.  It has lost its last three games, too.  So a win against a conference foe Monday night would be just as big for the Eagles as for the Panthers as the season progresses.

Adding to the storylines for Monday’s game, Philadelphia is undefeated at home so far this season, going 4 – 0 at home.  Carolina on the other hand is 1 – 2 – 1 on the road.  That means that Carolina will come in to Monday night’s game very much the underdog.  Interestingly enough, Cam Newton is a perfect 2 – 0 on Monday Night Football as are the Eagles and head coach Chip Kelly.  This makes Monday night’s matchup all the more exciting for fans.

Mike Tirico will have the call for Monday night’s game.  He will be joined in the booth by analyst Jon Gruden.  ESPN will have more than five hours of coverage for Monday night’s game before kickoff.  It all leads up to Monday night’s pregame coverage on Monday Night Countdown at 6pm ET.  Suzy Kolber will anchor that broadcast.  She will be joined by NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young.  Studio host Chris Berman will be joined by NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson and ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

More information on Monday Night’s broadcast andpre-game coverage is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf
http://espn.go.com/nfl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN’s MNF Wins Monday’s Ratings Race

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Monday Night Football brought in some big numbers for ESPN Monday night. The matchup of the Steelers and Texans helped the worldwide leader in sports essentially run the table. The network won the night among all networks in viewers, households, and all key male and adult demographics. It came in as the top broadcast of the night across cable and broadcast among those key male demos, as well as adults 18 – 34 and 18 – 49.

Monday night’s matchup between the Steelers and Texans averaged an 8.1 household U.S. rating. That equals to 9,483,000 households and 13,275,000 viewers (P2+) according to Nielsen. The broadcast peaked from 9:45 – 10pm ET with a 9.1 rating and 15,124,000 viewers.

The battle between the AFC foes pulled in a 14.3 rating on ESPN and a 13.0 on KIAH-CW for a combined 27.3 rating for that market. Pittsburgh viewers pushed the game to a 10.8 rating on ESPN and a 27.8 on WTAE-ABC for a combined 3805 rating in the Pitttsburgh market. In Baltimore, home of the Steelers’ AFC North divisional foes the Ravens, Monday night’s broadcast pulled in a 12.1. Fellow AFC markets Indianapolis and Jacksonville brought in a 10.6 and 10.5 respectively. In the bigger picture of the nation’s top ten metered markets, Las Vegas brought in the highest ratings with a 15.1. It was followed by Sacramento and San Diego. Both pulled in a 12.2 rating. It brought in an 11.0 with San Antonio and Richmond bringing in a 10.8 and 10.7 respectively.

Monday Night Football is averaging an 8.3 household U.S. rating through the first seven weeks of the season for ESPN. That is the equivalent of 9,618,000 households and 13,355,000 viewers.

The numbers or ESPN’s digital broadcast of Monday night’s matchup between the Steelers and Texans was impressive in its own right. Monday’s game reached 313,000 unique visitors on WatchESPN. That is an increase of 87 percent compared to week 7 from last season. It logged 21.5 million minutes viewed. That is an increase of 76 percent from the same time last year. It had an average minute audience of 106,000. That, too is an increase of 76 percent. These combined numbers drove ESPN as the most social network for the seventh straight Monday. Additionally they pushed Monday Night Football to the position of the most social program for the day.

Spanish-speaking audiences helped push Monday night’s game to the top, too. Monday night’s game between the Steelers and Texans averaged a 0.4 average Hispanic household U.S. rating. That is the equivalent of 66,000 Hispanic Household impressions. This is an increase of fourteen percent over the same time last year. It brought in 86,000 Hispanic P2+ impressions. So far this season, ESPN Deportes is averaging a 0.4 Hispanic Household rating. That is a one hundred percent gain, with 59,000 Hispanic Household Impressions and 87,000 Hispanic P2+ impressions. That are increases of 73 percent and 85 percent respectively.

Next week on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys host the Washington Redskins. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 8:30 pm ET. It will mark the sixteenth time that the NFC East rivals will face off on Monday night. That is second only to the Raiders and Broncos, who have faced one another seventeen times in the forty-five year history of ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

More information on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, its 2014 broadcast schedule and more is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

AFC Foes Pats, Chiefs Face Off In A Battle Of East Versus West Monday Night On ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This Monday night on ESPN, Alex Smith and the struggling Kansas City Chiefs host Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a battle of East versus West in the AFC.  Monday night’s edition of Monday Night Football on ESPN will be an important one for the Chiefs who are currently winless at home. The Pats on the other hand, are even at 1 – 1 on the road.  Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski said this week that he is looking forward to taking on a more active role with the Pats. So fans can potentially expect to see him in a much more active role Monday night when New England comes to Arrowhead Stadium. And that means the possibility of an even more tough fight for the Chiefs Monday night.

Looking at things on an even deeper level, the Chiefs and Pats are almost even in terms of total points scored so far this season and total yardage, too. And Tom Brady has the second-highest winning percentage on Monday Night Football, with a record of 13 – 5.  That is second only to Payton Manning, whose MNF record sits at 13 – 4.  The Patriots have scored more points than the Chiefs so far this season.  But the Chiefs have outperformed the Patriots in terms of Passing Yards, Rushing Yards, and total yardage overall.  But that lead is minimal at best. Taking all of this into consideration, Monday night’s edition of Monday Night Footabll on ESPN could prove to be a close one for both teams in this battle of the AFC East and AFC West.

Mike Tirico will have the call for Monday night’s game.  He will be joined by Jon Gruden in the booth and Lisa Salters on the sidelines for additional commentary.  Before kickoff of Monday night’s game, the Monday Night Countdown crew will recap all of the action from Sunday’s games.  Suzy Kolber will host the broadcast, which will come live from Arrowhead Stadium.  She will be joined by NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, and Steve Young.  Chris Berman will join the broadcast live from ESPN’s headquarters alongside ESPN NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson and ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.  It all starts at 6pm ET.  Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15pm ET.

The topics slated for Monday night’s edition of Monday Night Countdown are listed below.

  • Gruden’s Grill Session with Alex Smith: Super Bowl-winning coach and MNFanalyst Jon Gruden visits with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
  • Rick Reilly – Drew Bledsoe: If not for an injury to then-Patriots starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe in 2001, the Tom Brady era in New England may never have happened.  In his weekly feature, Countdown’sRick Reilly looks at where Bledsoe is now, 13 years after losing his starting job to Brady and eight years since retiring from the NFL.
  • Soundtracks – Best of Brady and Gronk: As the Patriots look to get their offense turned around, Countdownlooks back at the best of in-game audio between quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski in Soundtracks.

Monday Night Football is available to all Spanish-speaking audiences on ESPN Deportes.  And anyone that can’t be near a television Monday night can still catch the game online via WatchESPN.

More information on ESPN’s Monday Night Football is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl.mnf

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Jets, Bears Close Out Week 3 On ESPN’s Monday Night Football

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Week 3 of the 2014 NFL season wraps tonight as Geno Smith and the New York Jets host Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears.

The Jets and Bears will face off at MetLife Stadium tonight on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Both teams have plenty to play for tonight as they both currently sit at 1 – 1 so far on the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15pm ET. Mike Tirico will have the call from the booth tonight. Analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will also be on hand for additional commentary. ESPN and ESPN Deportes will work together throughout the evening’s broadcast to recognize the NFL’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which continues through October 15th.

Monday night’s matchup between the Bears and Jets will be preceded by ESPN’s weekly pre-game broadcast of Monday Night Countdown live at 6pm ET. Monday’s broadcast will come live from MetLife Stadium. Host Suzy Kolber will be joined by analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis, Steve Young for a recap of the week’s games and a look ahead at the week’s closer between New York and Chicago. Kolber and company will be joined from ESPN’s headquarters by studio host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, and Keyshawn Johnson alongside ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Those that can’t be close to a TV tonight can catch tonight’s game online via WatchESPN. The game will also be available to Spanish-speaking audiences on TV on ESPN Deportes. More information on tonight’s matchup is available online at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Orioles To Host Yankees On Sept. 14th Edition Of Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Football season is officially underway.  College football and NFL stadiums alike are now rocking every week with rabid fans on both sides of the ball.  While football has taken center stage, audiences should be reminded that the 2014 MLB season isn’t over just yet.  With time ticking away before the playoffs start, ESPN has announced that the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees will face off live on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell on Sunday, September 14th.

The teams’ matchup on September 14th will be the last in a four-game series between the teams that weekend.  The series kicks off Friday, September 12th with a double-header between the AL East rivals. Whether or not audiences are Yankees fans, the scheduled game will be an important one as it is believed that it will be the last appearance by Yankees great Derek Jeter on Sunday Night Baseball.  It will also be the last for Jeter at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is itself celebrating its 25th season this year.

Dan Shulman will have the call for the game.  He will be joined live by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney for additional commentary.  Fans that won’t be close to a TV to catch the game on  September 24th can still catch it on their local ESPN Radio affiliate.  Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will have the call for audiences listening on the radio.  It will also be available online via WatchESPN and on TV and radio for Spanish-speaking audiences on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes radio.  As with every Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on ESPN, the matchup between the Orioles and Yankees will be preceded by ESPN’s Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet live at 7pm ET.

Tomorrow night, audiences can catch the third game in a three-game series between the Indians and Royals.  The Royals currently sit atop the AL Central Standings while the Indians are third in the division, 3.5 games back.  Game two is tonight at 7:10pm ET.  Next Sunday night, September 7th, ESPN will carry the third game in a three-game series between the Giants and Tigers.

More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.